Adding Obituaries to Sites Like Find-A-Grave – Tombstone Tuesdays December 17, 2019

Standard Disclaimer:

I am not an attorney and any comments I post are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a legal expert who is familiar with the area of legal expertise you need.

I thought this was a good Tombstone Tuesdays post as I am seeing too many scanned obit photos on Find-A-Grave.

More information (you have to search, and the links below may get moved or deleted, but were current as of December 17, 2019):

Can I add a memorial from a newspaper obituary or other 3rd party source?

Find A Grave does not discourage the legitimate indexing of the deceased through obituaries or other 3rd party accounts. Newspapers represent a very good source of information as a public record. We ask that those who index and memorialize the deceased from newspapers and other 3rd party accounts do so with full respect of copyright, refrain from adding information about living people, and respond generously to the family of the deceased. Find A Grave takes no position on the appropriate timing of submitting such indexes.


What type of photos may and may not be added as cemetery photos?

Cemetery photos can include the main gate, the cemetery sign, a panoramic view of the cemetery, and a map of the cemetery grounds. Do not submit images taken from Google Maps, Google Earth, or similar websites.


Some things have changed. For example, the earlier FAQs made it clear you weren’t allowed to add obituary scans:

Can I add an obituary to my interment listing?
Please do NOT add newspaper article or obituary scans. The photo section is reserved for headstone/grave photos and possibly a portrait photo of the person, if that photo is owned by you. Do not copy and post photographs from obituary or funeral home websites (unless you personally are the photographer), as they are protected by copyright law. Find A Grave reserves the right to remove obituary notices and photographs from memorial records. Obituaries for “famous” individuals are usually written by newspaper staff and can not be posted to Find A Grave as the newspaper company owns that copyright. Please do not include website addresses that may be listed in the obituary as they usually expire within a year after the obituary is printed. [Top]

General Rules:
ONLY post photos for which YOU hold the copyright (meaning photos you took)!!!
Our Terms of Service allow for photos posted to Find A Grave to be posted elsewhere within the Ancestry Community, but they do not allow such photos to be posted on non-Ancestry websites or otherwise republished without the copyright holder’s permission. Copyright of photos posted to Find A Grave remains with the original copyright holder.
No screen shots from other websites.
No obituary photographs.
No scans of obituaries or newspaper articles.
No photos taken from any website, including Find A Grave!!! [Top]

I bring this up because I see a lot of scanned obit photos on Find-A-Grave. Just another For Your Information (FYI), citing the source does not get around copyright. All it does is stop you from being guilty of plagiarism. If the obituary is still under copyright, you need permission from one or more sources. The person(s) who wrote the obit, potentially the newspaper or funeral home as a very small number of newspapers require shared copyright if you want to publish it in those newspapers.

Previous Tombstone Tuesdays posts:


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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